Violence Prevention Begins with Knowledge

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Picture of Lauren Johnson, MSWBy Lauren Johnson, MSW

October is Domestic Violence Awareness & National Bullying Prevention Month.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), violence in intimate relationships accounts for 15% of all violent crime. Many still think of domestic violence only as it relates to physical assaults, however violence  in intimate relationships often also includes sexual violence, emotional abuse, control over resources, and social isolation. Domestic violence is about power and control for the abuser.  Domestic violence occurs in households regardless of income, race, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, gender, or age. The NCADV reports that those most vulnerable for victimization are females ages 18-24. Victims of domestic violence are more prone to symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation.
What factors can prevent a victim from leaving the situation?

      • Lack of finances
      • Housing issues
      • Threat of retaliation
      • Religious beliefs
      • Family responsibilities
      • Fear of deportation
      • Continued sense of love or loyalty to his/her partner

How can I help someone at risk?

      • Regard the victim as the expert in their lives, only they can know if it is time or safe to leave
      • Avoid using blaming or judgmental language; it is never the victim’s fault that the abuse is occurring
      • Encourage the individual to seek help from a professional

A mental health professional can assist an individual in creating a safety plan that is specific to their needs. A safety plan can include such things as identifying safe ways to exit the home, being aware of potential weapons within the home, and arming friends and family with a code word in case immediate help is required. Individuals at risk may consider gathering important documents such as identification, passport, birth certificates, medical records, and school records. It is also helpful to have a list of important phone numbers such as police, local shelters, family, and friends. To find shelters in your area please visit Additional resources can be identified by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233).  For further information, please visit or